Faces pierced with badminton rackets at vegetarian festival

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Worshippers believe they can purify themselves of sins by piercing their faces with objects (Picture: AFP)

Religious devotees pierced their faces with badminton rackets at an annual vegetarian festival in Thailand.

The rackets were among a number of objects, including swords and knives, that Taoist worshippers pushed through their cheeks to mark the nine day festival.

Worshippers believe that by carrying out the piercing, they will be able to purify themselves and take on the sins of the community.

The festival, also known as the Nine Emperor Gods, kicked off on the island of Phuket.

A number of those taking part try to soften their pain, by working themselves into a trance during a ritual.

According to Taoist thought, each mutilation marks a sacrifice.

The festival’s origins can be traced back to 1825, when a group of Chinese travellers who fell ill, used the rituals in order to recover.

We recommend you don’t try these things at home.

The festival begins on the first evening of the ninth lunar month and lasts for nine days (Picture: AFP)
A devotee of a Chinese shrine with multiple skewers pierced through his cheeks (Picture: AFP)
Many devotees slash themselves with swords (Picture: AFP)
Woeshippers are known as ‘mah song’ (Picture: AFP)
The festival is also known as the Nine Emperor Gods (Picture: AFP)
The festival begins on the island of Phuket (Picture: AFP)
A devotee has a large skewer pierced through his cheek (Picture: AFP)
The festival’s origins can be traced back to 1825 (Picture: AFP)
Worshippers wear colourful costumes during the ceremony (Picture: AFP)
The mah are said to feel no pain because they are ‘possessed by the purifying spirits’ (Picture: AFP)

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